Teaching and learning in 2021/22

If government restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic are required during the 2021/22 academic year, we are planning to teach through a flexible combination of online and onsite learning, in order to prioritise the safety of students and staff. For more details on changes to this course, see our planned undergraduate course changes page or postgraduate course changes page.

Course Overview

UK Fees £9,250 *
International Fees £14,400 *
Duration 3 years

* Price per academic year

Course summary

This course offers a flexible, multidisciplinary, and multimedia approach to the study and practice of contemporary illustration and visual communication.

A supportive studio environment and learning community encourages you to develop your own distinctive visual practice through experimentation and inquiry.

A diverse range of studio-based projects provide you with the intellectual and creative space to explore and examine a range of processes and practices in both traditional and emerging technologies.

The course combines illustration and visual communication allowing you to build a range of visual and professional skills. This breadth of approach is designed to support creative agility, enable you to be flexible and resilient, and ready to adapt your practice to rapidly and ever evolving career opportunities.

Alumni and specialists contribute to the teaching programme alongside our dedicated course team of experienced professional practitioners.

Based in the leafy campus of Harrow, a creative hothouse for arts media and digital courses, you'll work alongside students from fashion, fine art, film, photography, music, animation, graphics and journalism

You'll enjoy generous studio space and excellent facilities for drawing, traditional and digital printmaking, lens-based media, 3D, ceramics, digital and emerging technologies.

The course has a strong professional focus and in conjunction with the University’s award-winning Creative Enterprise Centre, supports you in developing professional skills and providing opportunities for work experience and internships.

Through membership of the Association of Illustrators and D&AD, students also benefit from a range of professional opportunities and support, industry led briefs, networking events and a showcase at the D&AD New Blood festival in London's creative hub Shoreditch.

Top reasons to study with us

  • Generous studio space
  • Excellent facilities and technical expertise
  • Open and supportive learning environment with a focus on developing each individual student’s creative potential
  • A wide range of career opportunities
  • A creative community campus, a short train ride from London’s galleries, museums, and cultural events

Course structure

Teaching and learning methods include individual tutorial sessions, group work, presentations, workshops, online training, lectures and frequent trips into central London to see exhibitions.

The following subjects are indicative of what you will study on this course.

The first year is focused on exploration and visual development of image-making, drawing and visual communication within a wide range of media processes and techniques. Learning is principally project-led and designed to build your understanding of how meaning, visual messaging and storytelling can be conveyed in visual form.

Drawing is a core activity both as a material process and through a range of technical mediums such as printmaking, animation and graphic mark-making. With the studio classes and technical workshops, there are lectures in visual culture and image media, exhibition visits, talks from visiting artists and collaborative activities such as exhibitions.

Subjects of study include:

  • Animation, time-based media and story-boarding
  • Computer-generated imagery and software training
  • Digital art and technologies
  • Figure Drawing
  • Location study and field trips
  • Printmaking and surface design
  • Visual and graphic communication
  • Visual Culture and image media
  • Workshops in Adobe software, ceramics, 3D, photography

Credit Level 4

The second year builds and expands your current knowledge that is now more focused on the contextualisation of image-making, where images are seen or consumed. The level of critical engagement with ideas and visual culture is deepened and leads increasingly to more independent development in both your practical and written work.

The flexibility in the curriculum at this level accommodates optional choices in both semesters including a study abroad opportunity.

Subjects of study include:

  • Contextualised practice (exploring and expanding upon the range and diversity of contexts and ideas in which illustration and visual arts can be developed. Areas explored are around documentary and fiction)
  • Critical enquiry furthers topics within visual culture today leading to preparation for writing a dissertation in your final year.
  • Drawing systems (course practice option examines drawing approaches and processes)
  • Designing Narrative Experiences (exploration of audience interaction with imagery, objects and information that unfold through physical or virtual environments)
  • In the second semester, you can choose to examine illustration within applied contexts, answering industry focused briefs or through exploring interdisciplinary practice in digital technologies. 
  • Option modules in graphic explorations and drawing complement and expand knowledge laterally.
  • There are also opportunities for collaboration and a greater sense of ownership and authorship of your work leading into your final year.

Credit Level 5

Entering your final year, optional choices enable you to take a more commercial route with the professional enterprise module, or a more self-defined research route. In the first semester, you commit to the writing of a dissertation based on a dissertation proposal completed at the end of your second year. The second semester focuses solely on your major project that carries 50% of your total mark in your final year.

Teaching support at this level is through individual supervised tutorials on the Dissertation and Major Project with peer reviews, professional talks and workshops.

Post final assessment you have the opportunity to exhibit your work in London Gallery West and participate in D&AD New Blood Festival, an international and industry-focused event serving as a launch into professional work.

Subjects of study include:

  • Participation in field trips/exhibition visits and events such as gallery visits and promotional activities including more extensive internships.
  • Self-directed practice, study and research culminating in the writing of a Dissertation and the production of a significant Major Project.
  • Workshops and talks from practitioners and professionals in the field

Credit Level 6

Illustration and visual communication at Westminster

Programme Specification

For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the programme specification.

For general enquiries about the course, please email [email protected]

To request an accessible version of the programme specification, please email [email protected]

Careers

graduate icon in turquoise
Successful alumni

Our alumni include Jim Kay, illustrator of the most recent Harry Potter books for Bloomsbury, and Paul Vincett, a puppet maker whose credits include X-Men: First Class, and Thor 2.

Figure with connections
External Enterprise Projects

We offer external projects with companies such as the NHS, Artworks Illustration Agency, and Walker Books, to help students gain an understanding of the workplace

3,000
Employers around the world

The University’s Careers and Employability Service has built up a network of over 3,000 employers around the world, helping all our students explore and connect with exciting opportunities and careers.

Work experience opportunities

Opportunities to participate in internships, work experience, study abroad and initiatives that prepare you to seamlessly enter the world of work will start in your first year and build throughout the course.

The Creative Enterprise Centre assists you in setting up work internships and placements and provides a range of career-focused activities including expert-led workshops, training, industry networking events and business guidance.

On the course, we encourage participation in industry-led initiatives through national and international student competitions and industry-led initiatives. Some of the organisations we have worked with include:

  • BBC
  • The Big Draw
  • Hayward Gallery
  • Landor Associates
  • The NHS
  • Transport for London

Industries

Our graduates are highly enterprising and have developed careers in a range of professions and enterprises as practitioners in the fields of illustration, graphic design, animation, fine art and film. Students graduating from this course also become managers, art directors, artists’ agents, and teachers - and they find employment within advertising, marketing, publishing, events management and the mass media.

The impact of new technologies has led more students and graduates to work as concept artists and designers for organisations that focus on visual effects, virtual and augmented reality for computer games, film and television, advertising, and training programmes for science and medicine.

Job roles

Many of our graduates operate independently as freelance, self-employed practitioners or work collaboratively in small business cooperatives, often with students they met during their course. 

Students have progressed on to job roles including:

  • Animator
  • Art director
  • Art therapist (requiring further training)
  • Company manager
  • Event manager
  • Gallerist
  • Graphic designer
  • Illustrator – editorial illustration/ decorative merchandising and interiors, branding and promotion, visual effects, concept art
  • Teacher (requiring further training)

Our alumni

Our course alumni have progressed to many different careers, including:

  • Anna Reynolds - Studio and Communications Manager at A Practice for Everyday Life, Designer and Assistant to Mike Radcliffe, and Staff Writer for Grafik
  • Ben Jennings – Satirical illustrator – the Guardian, New Statesman, i Newspaper
  • Diyala Muir – Animator - winner of the Best Student Film at British Animation Awards 2018
  • Chris Tichborne – Bafta award winning animator / director - Corpse bride, Coraline, Fantastic Mr Fox, Rupert Bear, Postman Pat, Bob the Builder, Bafta award for the Clangers
  • Davinia Gregory - Assistant Professor at Teachers College Columbia University - research in material culture studies, Caribbean studies
  • Grace Russell - Illustrator and winner of the student V&A Illustration Award 2014
  • Hiroko Uemoto - Graphic Designer - Paldas, Japan
  • Jim Kay -  Illustrator and concept artist for books, TV and film (Illustrator for Harry Potter books)
  • Josey Senoy - Illustrator and Surface Designer. Clients include British Museum, Design Museum, Historical Royal Palaces, Imperial War Museum, Somerset House, Anthropologie, Marks & Spencer
  • Kaishi Yamaguchi - Graphic and Web Designer, Guanabana Restaurants
  • Marcelina Amelia - Painter, printmaker, illustrator. Featured in publications including Booooooom, Bomb, Art Maze, Create Magazine, Digital Arts, Vogue, Refinery29, The NY Times, Der Spiegel, Ballad Of Magazine. Saatchi Art's featured 'Artist in Spotlight' in 2018
  • Mateusz Gidaszewski - Head of art and design dept for Vopulus – healthcare education
  • Megg Wilford - Graphic Designer and Art Director creating content for the music, fashion and lifestyle industries. Clients include: New Balance, Barbour, ITV
  • Michael William Lester – Illustrator and animator - ‘Beginners’ creative studio
  • Miles Lauterwasser - Limited Editions Co-ordinator, Tate Gallery
  • Paul Vincett - Character Designer, Puppet/costume and prop maker for film and theatre. Film credits include: X-Men: First Class, Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, Thor 2, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Beauty and the Beast. Theatre credits include: His Dark Materials, War Horse, and Shakespeare's Globe’s Gabriel
  • Raphael O'Selle - Brand Designer for Guinness Partnership
  • Sam Hawkins and Seb Chaloner (aka illustration duo MysteryMeat) – illustration, graphic design, art direction for Adam & Eve, Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett, The Corner, Pablo, WCRS, Mother. The new Your Times, The Sunday Times, TFL, Droga5NYC, Esquire
  • Solomon Tremowo – CEO of Playerium – games and moving image design studio
  • Stephanie Alexander Jinks – Director, The Artworks Illustration Agency
  • Tim Mcdonagh - Illustrator - Clients: Nike, Penguin, HMV, Virgin, Harley Davidson, Ryanair, Hodder & Stoughton, New Scientist, Wired; Vibe, Variety, CNBC

International Opportunities

Many of our courses offer international study and work experiences, and the University provides other global opportunities that all students can apply for - so whatever you're studying, you'll have the chance to go abroad.

Opportunities could include:

  • Taking part in semester or year-long exchanges at institutions around the world
  • Attending an international summer school or field trip
  • Developing your CV through volunteering or work placements abroad

International experience broadens horizons, boosts self-confidence, and improves global understanding, alongside being fantastic for your career.

Find out more about our international opportunities, including funding options and where you can go.

Students working and studying internationally

Why study this course?

Lecture speaking new icon turquoise
Professional insights

We regularly welcome industry professionals and members of our alumni community to talk to current students about their future careers and how to make the most of their time on the course.

Connected figures
Collaborative learning

Throughout the course there are opportunities for collaboration with students from film, fashion, music, fine art, photography and the rest of the University.

Building
Excellent facilities

Harrow Campus boasts dedicated studio space and facilities, accommodating everything from large-scale work and traditional figure drawing to printmaking and camera rooms with green screens.

Online open days

Join us at an online open day or information session and get a feel for student life at the University of Westminster.

You'll get a chance to: 

  • Speak to our academic staff
  • Take a virtual reality tour of our student halls
  • Ask us any questions you may have about student finance and accommodation

Find an online open day

Student taking notes while attending an online event

Entry Requirements

  • A levels – CCC to BBB
  • International Baccalaureate – 96 to 120 UCAS Tariff points from the IB
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – MMM to DDM
  • BTEC Diploma – DD to D*D*
  • Access – 96 to 120 UCAS Tariff points from the Access course

In addition to one of the above, you should have: 

  • GCSE English Language grade 4/C – IB grade 4 Higher level, GCSE Maths Pass – IB Pass

If your first language is not English, you will need an IELTS of 6.0 overall, with 5.5 in each component.

Applicants will be asked to provide 10-15 images, to include a balance of initial sketches or worksheets as well as more resolved final artwork. You will be asked to include a short sentence on each page so that we can understand how the work relates to a project or theme.  Include links to blogs, any moving image work and/or personal websites.

We also welcome applications from students who are taking a combinations of qualifications listed above. For further information, please contact Course Enquiries.

View more information about our entry requirements and the application process.

  • International Baccalaureate – 96 to 120 UCAS Tariff points from the IB

If your first language is not English, you will need an IELTS of 6.0 overall, with 5.5 in each component.

Applicants will be asked to provide no more than 40 images, to include a balance of initial sketches or worksheets as well as more resolved final artwork. You will be asked to include a short sentence on each page so that we can understand how the work relates to a project or theme.  Include links to blogs, any moving image work and/or personal websites.

More information

Pre-sessional English programmes

Need to improve your English before starting your course? We offer summer pre-sessional English programmes to help develop your English language skills.

Find out more about our pre-sessional English programmes.

Student Profiles

Tiziana Ruiu

Tiziana Ruiu

Illustration and Visual Communication BA Honours

I loved the time spent at Westminster. I found it to be an inclusive and stimulating environment, with up-to-date and comfortable facilities. The modules on IVC are very well constructed, I was able to work on exciting projects that aimed to prepare me professionally and expand my artistic portfolio. Thanks to that, I was able to find a job almost immediately after graduation. Overall, it's been a great experience - I might even say a life-changing one.

Joe Jack Chapman

Joe Jack Chapman

Illustration and Visual Communication BA Honours

Illustration is accessible and incredibly freeing. The course at Westminster is versatile and very broad. I was encouraged to follow my thoughts and just make work until I formed my own practice. The university environment introduced me to some great illustrators and artists that are now some of my best pals. We all have strong interest and admiration for each other's work.

Nathalie Dickson

Nathalie Dickson

Illustration and Visual Communication BA Honours

The course allowed students to explore different mediums and forms of artistic expression. The tutors helped with this, encouraging us to pursue whatever specialism we were most passionate about. I really enjoyed my time at Westminster, particularly because of the people I was with. Everyone on the course was very respectful and accepting of one another, showing a genuine interest and appreciation for each other's work.

Learn new skills

Languages icon
Learn a new language

From Arabic to Spanish, you can learn a new language alongside your degree with our Polylang programme

Toolbox icon
Develop your entrepreneurial skills

Our award-winning Creative Enterprise Centre offers industry networking events, workshops, one-to-one business advice and support for your startup projects. 

Awards icon in turquoise
Gain extra qualifications

We provide access to free online courses in Adobe and Microsoft Office applications, as well as thousands of specialist courses on LinkedIn Learning.

Fees and Funding

UK tuition fee: £9,250 (Price per academic year)

When you have enrolled with us, your annual tuition fees will remain the same throughout your studies with us. We do not increase your tuition fees each year.

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

EU Qualifications Welcome Award Scheme

If you are an international student accepted on an undergraduate programme starting in September 2021 on the basis of an eligible EU qualification only, you will be awarded a tuition fee reduction which will align your fee more closely to the one for UK students. For more information, see the EU Qualifications Welcome Award Scheme.

Funding

As well as tuition fee loans, there is a range of funding available to help you fund your studies.

Find out about undergraduate student funding options.

Scholarships

The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one of our scholarships.

Additional costs

See what you may need to pay for separately and what your tuition fees cover.

International tuition fee: £14,400 (Price per academic year)

When you have enrolled with us, your annual tuition fees will remain the same throughout your studies with us. We do not increase your tuition fees each year.

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

EU Qualifications Welcome Award Scheme

If you are accepted on an undergraduate programme starting in September 2021 on the basis of an eligible EU qualification only, you will be awarded a tuition fee reduction of £4,500 per year, which will align your fee more closely to the one for UK students. For more information, see the EU Qualifications Welcome Award Scheme.

International student funding

Find out about funding for international students.

Additional costs

See what you may need to pay for separately and what your tuition fees cover.

Facilities

The course provides dedicated studio accommodation for each cohort with both collaborative and individual workspace.

Studios are equipped with computers, photocopiers, printers and scanners for IT and digital production. The studios are open 5 days a week, 8am–8pm with some studios and the campus library open for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Our facilities provide multiple approaches to practice and include photography, animation, painting, drawing, printmaking, textile printing, 3D digital printing, laser cutting, high-end inkjet printing, digital imaging, three-dimensional design construction, ceramics, woodwork, metalwork and casting.

Find us on Instagram

Teaching and assessment

Below you will find how learning time and assessment types were distributed in the past on this course, through approximate percentages taken from previous cohorts. The graphs below give an indication of what you can expect. Changes to the division of learning time and assessment may be made in response to feedback and in accordance with our terms and conditions.

How you'll be taught

Teaching methods across all our undergraduate courses focus on active student learning through lectures, seminars, workshops, problem-based and blended learning, and where appropriate practical application. Learning typically falls into three broad categories:

  • Scheduled hours: examples include lectures, seminars, practical classes, workshops, supervised time in a studio
  • Placement: placement hours normally include placement opportunities, but may also include live projects or virtual activity involving employers
  • Independent study: non-scheduled time in which students are expected to study independently. This may include preparation for scheduled sessions, follow-up work, wider reading or practice, completion of assessment tasks, or revision
Year
1
30%70%
2
26%74%
3
18%82%
Scheduled hours Independent study

How you'll be assessed

Our undergraduate courses include a wide variety of assessments.

Assessments typically fall into three broad categories:

  • Practical: examples include presentations, videos, podcasts, lab work, creating artefacts  
  • Written exams: end of semester exams 
  • Coursework: examples include essays, reports, in-class tests, portfolios, dissertation
     
Year
1
100%
2
2%98%
3
1%99%
Practical Coursework

Data from the academic year 2019/20

Supporting you

Our Student Hub is where you’ll find out about the services and support we offer, helping you get the best out of your time with us.

  • Study support — workshops, 1-2-1 support and online resources to help improve your academic and research skills
  • Personal tutors — support you in fulfilling your academic and personal potential
  • Student advice team — provide specialist advice on a range of issues including funding, benefits and visas
  • Extra-curricular activities — volunteering opportunities, sports and fitness activities, student events and more

Visit our student hub

Illustration for the Student Hub

Course location

Harrow is our creative and cultural hub, home to most of our arts, media and digital courses. It houses state-of-the-art facilities for every discipline, including project and gallery spaces, film studios, creative labs, collaborative learning spaces, and the creative enterprise hub.

Harrow Campus is based in north-west London, just 20 minutes from the city centre by train.

For more details, visit our Harrow Campus page.
 

More information

Your Westminster

Book an open day. Order a prospectus. Sign up for newsletters.

Contact us

ALREADY HAVE YOUR RESULTS?

You can now apply via our Clearing application form

ANY QUESTIONS?

Email us at [email protected] or speak to us on live chat.

Start live chat

Opening hours: 9am–4pm (BST) Monday to Friday